What Today’s Young Job Seekers Say They Really Want

From the HR blog on TLNT. Photo illustration by istockphoto.com.
From the HR blog on TLNT. Photo illustration by istockphoto.com.

At last month’s ERE Expo in Hollywood, Florida, Mark Mehler and Gerry Crispin of CareerXroads assembled a panel of four of today’s sharpest young job seekers.

Among the findings:

  • Only one of them uses LinkedIn.
  • They were not swayed by free swag at job fairs.
  • They were hesitant to be contacted by Facebook and SMS, which is often regarded as impersonal, unprofessional, or even spam.
  • If they’re receiving text messages from a recruiter or employer at 9:00 p.m., it’s a bad sign that they’d be working until 9:00 p.m. on a regular basis at that company.

Click below to see the video with these four young job seekers:

A major theme was that young job seekers long for face-to-face contact during the recruiting process. One of the No. 1 takeaways was that some good old-fashioned face time is necessary to make sure the position and company culture are a good fit for the candidate.

Another recurring point was that this new generation of workers needs to like what they do. Despite the economic state, young workers have the benefit of mobility and won’t stay in a position for long if they aren’t happy. This seems obvious, but it can often be overlooked when trying to fill a position on a deadline.

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Mobility within the company was also discussed. If young workers feel stuck in their position with no room to move upward, they will consider other options. It’s important to make candidates feel like they will have a future with your company with options down the road.

Overall, honesty about the company and taking the time to reach out and make sure the position was a good fit does not go unappreciated. Some highlights are above; the full unedited video can be watched here.

Brendan is a production manager at ERE Media. While relatively new to the recruiting industry, he is always eager to learn more, especially how technology is changing the industry.


9 Comments on “What Today’s Young Job Seekers Say They Really Want

  1. Two thoughts:

    1. Seems like a lot of what was said are basics that apply to anyone, regardless of their age/generation.

    2. Gen Y can SAY what they’re looking for all they want. When it’s time to move out of mom and dad’s house and you need to pay the bills, your actions speak a lot louder than your words.

  2. I do not think this has changed much. Everyone wants to make sure they move up in a company to have that security, no one wants to be stuck in a position for 10 years without seeing something in the end–like a promotion of some kind. What was written applies to everyone, young or old, male or female, and all races.

  3. Great panel and great job by ERE, but how panels or survey participants are asked questions often effects their answers. So when Millennials are asked if they want to be contacted via text messaging they typically say no and may explain that they’d find that to be intrusive. Fair enough.

    Ask the same people whether they’d be more or less likely to pay attention to a message from a recruiter sent via text versus any other medium and they will tell you that they’d pay the most attention to the text.

    So what are they really saying? They’re really saying they don’t want recruiters to contact them in an unsolicited manner. The candidates want to be in control of their communications. They want to control who they communicate with, what they communicate about, and when they communicate. But who doesn’t?

    Smart marketers know that they can grow old very quickly waiting for the phone to ring. If you want people to take interest in your opportunities, you need to market them. And when you market your opportunities, some people won’t want to learn about them and that’s okay because you’re never going to interest everyone you’re targeting all of the time. The key is to create a great deal of interest in enough to fill your positions while not annoying those who aren’t currently interested. Our experience with texting on behalf of our clients has proven that to be the case over and over again.

    1. Steven,

      My contention is if you have a great job and I’m willing, you can send a singing telegram to my doorstep and I’d be open. I’ve sent snail mail letters when all I could find was a postal address and it worked well enough to make it worth my while. Preferences are just that.

  4. I wouldn’t consider a panel of only 4 job seekers to be in any way representative of the entire demographic. It’s just not a statistically relevant sampling.

  5. This backs up why coaching works so well, even in the hiring process. Facetime (which is basically modeling relationships) and career development should be provided by a company, but can be outsourced and done by an external coach.

  6. But this is all common sense. What kind of business or recruiter would do this stuff. As for LinkedIn its value is more to people who already have a career going vs just starting out. I think it can help young people but most of the professionals on there use it as a bit of a roledex/facebook. I do not allow any work people in my Facebook network. I have maybe 6. Specifically because it’s social. But I have a decent LinkedIn network from past employment and current work efforts.

  7. Depending on the industry and position to be filled, scheduling employment interviews for evenings and weekends signals more than a work-life balance issue. Unless you’re in telemarketing or collections it gives the impression of poor prioritization and time management. As well, it signals that the job function/position is not valued or a priority. If you’re trying to fill an accounts payable or accounts receivable position with that approach, this may signal solvency issues to a business savvy candidate.

  8. Brendan,

    Great post and insight (love the video)! One thought here: Social media will never replace traditional recruiting/networking. Instead, it should be used as more of a supplement to the process. I think the students speak true to this in the video and echo everything I’ve heard from college students nationwide.

    Kirk Baumann
    Director of Career Connections – SIFE USA
    Blog: http://www.campus-to-career.com

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